Slice of Life Story Challenge- A Letter To Myself At Sixteen

I bought a little book titled ‘Dear Me –A letter to my sixteen year old self' today. It contains a collection of letters written by famous celebrities to their sixteen year old selves. The letters range from compassionate to shocking, moving through humour to heartbreak. It inspired me to write my own letter to my sixteen year old self...

 Dear Alan at Sixteen,

Well, have I got a surprise for you. This is future Alan writing to you and have I got news!  Not everything you wish for comes true!

You won’t get rid of those curls by endlessly trying to straighten your hair. Let me tell you, the curls are forever. Becoming a rock star required a lot more confidence and talent than you were ever prepared to muster. –but continue to enjoy the indulgence. The music, more particularly your love of it, is worth clinging to. Don’t waste any more time on that tambourine though…

I wish you could concentrate on your school work a little better. Let’s face it, you are about as organized as a puppy’s breakfast and as consequence picking up the slack has been something I have had to endure. But, you will be relieved to know, it has all come to fruition because in the end your wish of becoming a teacher will be realized. It truly has been a life long calling, you‘ll be pleased to learn. –pardon the pun… So your Principal’s message about ‘stickability’ made a lasting impression –How about that?

I know you are often frustrated by your slow writing left hand and hung up on neatness, but keep writing and save as much of it as you can. Trust me Lefty, you will be thankful for this advice.  Keep reading too! It’s okay to like poetry and football…

You are devoting a lot of your time to running, jumping and generally indulging yourself in a variety of sporting pursuits, well, you might be enjoying them at present, but I’m not so sure that it’s such a good investment in your future physical health. At sixteen this advice may mean little, but please look after your knees and your nose in particular.

Don’t spend too much time trying to work out the mystery of girls. You’re a bloke and it never amounts to a great deal of understanding that is effective.  And if the phrase, ‘He who hesitates is lost’ don’t mean anything to you at present, please lock it in to your consciousness.  Opportunities are for embracing. You are not here just to learn, you should aim to astound and amaze!

What can I tell you? Oh yes, I’m looking out for you, and ahead of you lie many exciting and wonderful times. As you get older, time will speed up; make the most of these years, they will pass before you realize. There are changes in the world, you could never dream of waiting for ahead. I am confident you will embrace these changes and use them to chip away at your ignorance. Don’t get to attached to your record collection…

Enjoy life, work hard, actually, could I ask you to work harder!  I can confidently tell you now, -you will make mistakes in the years ahead, but they are not too significant in the scheme of things and you will survive the bumps that life throws at you.

Take Care. I offer these words with the wisdom only living brings.
Older Alan


  1. Wow, what a great challenge. "Don't get too attached to your record collection..." Love that line! Lots of good advice for your young self. I'd like to try writing to myself sometime.

  2. It was pleasant to be in your company this morning. I read this and the slices I had missed in previous days. I wonder would the 16 year old you have listened to the present you had he truly received the letter. My favorite line is: there are changes in the world, you could never dream of waiting ahead.

  3. Alan,
    Thanks for sharing this unique post. It reminds me of a YouTube video I saw recently about skin cancer where people spoke to their 16 yr old selves about wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun so as to avoid cancer later in life. I would love to try this sometime, although I'm not sure yet what I'd say. My favorite line was "You won’t get rid of those curls by endlessly trying to straighten your hair. Let me tell you, the curls are forever." I've had to learn to embrace my curly/wavy hair, too, and let me tell you, in high school, I hated it! ;)

  4. Alan.... "don't get too attached to your record collection" .... You will be burried with it!
    But it legacy will live on :) thank goodness it is now able to be on computer :)

  5. I'm going to be thinking about this post all day! It has made me stop and think about what I would say to myself at 22.."You really do not know everything, yet"...and 30.."You are not getting old, yet"...and 40..."The best is yet to be."...ANd now to download ANOTHER book...the Circle of Life READING is getting expensive!

  6. This made me laugh. I was just thinking about myself at 16...It's 5:30 am here and I am about to board a bus with 20 16/17 year olds for a day of speech competition. Lordy... But, I may have a slice percolating in my head now!

  7. Cool concept. You have me thinking ...

  8. I saw YA authors posting to their sixteen year old selves on Twitter at one point, but I didn't know that there was a book! I ask definitely going to find this!
    I love your line about being as organized as a puppy's breakfast and having to pick up the slack later on.
    I think this is my inspiration for my own post today. Thanks!!!

  9. Reminds me of the Brad Paisley song, but you managed to capture those moments with incredible emotion and humor. Thanks for sharing who you used to be and a slice of who you are today.

  10. Loved it Alan! It's on my list to experiment with

  11. I agree with the other commenters, I may need to try this!

    I loved the line "about as organized as a puppy’s breakfast" -- so evocative.

  12. I enjoyed this post. It makes me wonder what 16 year olds would take from this collection of letters. I should lend a copy to my 16 year old great-niece. Thank you for planting some wonderful seeds.

  13. Wow, that was great. I will be thinking of what I would say to my younger self now. I loved your sentence - its ok to like poetry and football. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I loved reading your letter. So many funny moments. I imagined some eye rolling from your 16 year old self that could have read it. What a neat challenge.

  15. When I saw your teaser, I was wondering to which book you were referring, I thought maybe Dear Bully or The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to their Younger Selves, which I recently picked up as an ARC. I have never seen the book you actually referenced. It definitely looks intriguing, but I fear the published letters might pale in comparison to yours!

  16. Alan...well done! I had to laugh at "You won’t get rid of those curls by endlessly trying to straighten your hair. Let me tell you, the curls are forever." All my life I wanted straight hair and as a 16 year old girl my friend would iron my hair on the ironing board. HUMMMM...wonder what I'd say?

  17. "allow them to chip away at your ignorance"...I love that! And I wish someone had told my 16-year-old self to take better care of my knees... *sigh* A great concept and slice, Alan!


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